The City, Not Long After

Pat Murphy
The City, Not Long After Cover

The City, Not Long After


Have you ever hand to work so hard to find a book, that when you do find it you expect it to be the greatest book you have ever read because otherwise all the work was not worth it? This is how I felt about Pat Murphy's novel The City, Not Long After. I chose her as one of my WOGF authors, but my local library did not have a copy, and when I looked on line the book was out of print. I was intrigued by the plotline of this story and felt compelled by an unreasonable desire to find a copy of this novel. I eventually found and audio copy on my libraries E book accounts. After listening to this book, I must say I was not disappointed.

In the prologue, we are first introduced to a woman who is running away from San Francisco days after the plague. She is about to have a baby. Alone and scared she starts to "hallucinate" an angel. The woman promises the angel that it can name her child. This child grows up on a farm outside a small farming community led by a man called "Four Star". This self-appointed leader's mission is to bring back the United States of America, by any means possible including force. Through his actions, the girl's mother dies, but before she does she sends the girl to San Francisco to warn the people there that Four Star is coming to invade.

The story starts 16 years after a mysterious plague has wiped out most of the population of the world. Small pockets of humanity survived and created what can only be described as a series of city states where the population survives through production of necessities and through foraging through the pre plague leftovers. Each area of, in this case, California seems to have created its own form of government according to the needs of the people. But what happens when one man decides that he is way is the only way?

The 100 or so residents of San Francisco are predominately artists and form a sort of artist colony. There is magic in this city, although it is subtle, it runs throughout the novel, the city is a living being, able to guide and protect its people. The clash between the "artists" and Four Star make up the remainder of the story.

Pat Murphy creates a visual wonderland with her descriptions of the beautiful and sometime macabre art created throughout the city. I was drawn into the world of San Francisco as Ms. Murphy sees it, a magical and wonderful land. Her beautiful and haunting descriptions are surpassed only by the cast of interesting and memorable characters. Once I started listening to this novel, I could not stop. Although very heavy on descriptives, it does not become bogged down by them. The plot moves along at a steady and inevitable climax, like a faucet dripping and dripping into a bowl until that last drop crashes down and the bowl over flows. There is easiness about the residents of San Francisco, but this easiness is denied the reader.

I cannot recommend this book more strongly and cannot wait to read more from this amazing author. Thank You WOGF for introducing me to an amazing storyteller!